What does it mean to be saved?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast."
— Ephesians 2:8-9

Around the same time I began painting St Francis Xavier, an innocent comment on a Baptist friend's Facebook post sparked a friendly debate about the nature of justification and sanctification. I was about four messages in when I realised I needed to do more reading before I could adequately articulate my understanding of the mechanics of salvation. I soon found myself on an unexpected journey of intense reading, praying, and writing as I dug into a question I have often taken for granted: What does it mean to be saved?

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Why Should God Care About Your Problems?

Few obstacles keep people away from belief in God like the problem of evil. How can we claim that God is love when every day there are people dying in terrible accidents, children being abused, and every other kind of suffering imaginable?

To top it off, Christians have the audacity to ask God for help with the most trivial things—like finding their car keys or doing well in a job interview. Why would God care about your pathetic issues when there are kids dying somewhere else in the world?

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A Song, Your Brain, and Changing the World

I thought it a bit odd when I discovered that St. Cecilia—the patron saint of musicians—didn't actually sing or play an instrument. She was one of those saints whom I was familiar with since childhood; I remember seeing illustrations of her in books, her eyes raised wistfully to heaven, her fingers resting on harp strings or ivory keys. You would think that she had written a famous hymn or... something.

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Light Bearer (+ Time-lapse Video)

Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
— St. Augustine

Captivenia is an incredible Catholic medieval adventure camp for girls, with exciting theatrics, forest missions, medieval crafts, archery, tournaments, and a magnificent banquet. Throughout the week, the girls receive formation talks and the sacraments through Mass and confession.

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Dear Pro-Choice Advocates

 

Dear pro-choice advocates,

The other day I attended the funeral of a beautiful baby girl. I watched as the grieving family prepared to say goodbye to their tiny daughter, and I know that everyone present was weeping with them.

And yet, none of us, not even her own mother, had ever seen her alive. She had passed away inexplicably just a few hours before she was born. Yet somehow, we all felt her loss as keenly as though we had known her.

Later that day I attended a pro-life banquet, of all things. There was a special guest in attendance: a little girl who had been scheduled for termination by abortion and had been spared because her mother found the counselling and support she needed from the ministry across the street from the clinic. I burst into tears when they introduced her, and when I looked around the hall I could see that I wasn't the only one.

In both these cases, I saw not just a baby, a cluster of cells, or the "product of conception", but a story, a whole life meant to be lived. I felt the excruciating loss of the first and glimpsed the spectacular blossoming of the second.

And this... this is why I am pro-life.

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Update + Chill Purple Time-lapse Video

Well, we've already seen our first blizzard of the year here in Alberta. I know I'm not the only one who feels a little cheated by autumn getting cut so short. Ah, but maybe the leaves will hold on and we will get one final burst of warmth before winter digs its heels in. (To all my American followers: please go sit in the sun today on my behalf.)

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I Will Not Forget You (+ Time-lapse Video)

It was a happy weekend. I had a table at the Family Life Conference for the second time and it was fun to see how my newest pieces were being received. But even more exciting—most of my family and friends were there and I was delighted to tell them all that I was expecting our second baby!

Then everything changed early Sunday morning.

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